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Energy PLUS Concept, Interpanel, and RE4 win DGNB Sustainability Challenge

More than 80 projects and companies had applied for the DGNB Sustainability Challenge 2020 in the three categories “Startup”, “Innovation” and “Research”. In the category “Startup” the company Energie PLUS Concept GmbH from Nuremberg was chosen. Its focus is the sustainable and energy-efficient supply of districts with heating and cooling from renewable energy sources.



A startup that develops sustainable energy concepts for neighborhoods, a company with an all-in-one air conditioning system, and a research project that focuses on circular construction – these are the winners of this year’s Sustainability Challenge of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The three companies received their awards at the DGNB Sustainability Day on September 21st, 2020 in Stuttgart. In the final round, they beat two other candidates in each category. The student project re.create received a special prize.

Read more about the competition between companies to win the DGNB Sustainability Challenge and find the most important business headlines with our companion app, Born2Invest.

Three categories with over 80 participant companies – a tight competition

More than 80 projects and companies had applied for the DGNB Sustainability Challenge 2020 in the three categories “Startup“, “Innovation” and “Research”. After a preliminary selection by the DGNB Innovation Advisory Board, the nine finalists competed against each other in a live digital pitch at the end of June. The three winners were then selected via an online voting process and ceremoniously announced during the DGNB Sustainability Day.

In the category “Startup” the company Energie PLUS Concept GmbH from Nuremberg was chosen. Their topic is the sustainable and energy-efficient supply of districts with heating and cooling from renewable energy sources. To that end, the company uses near-surface geothermal energy and a cold local heating network that connects the residential buildings, factories and supermarkets in the quarter and allows them to benefit from each other in terms of energy. This bundling of heat generation and the heat pumps that can be used as standard equipment creates a sustainable model for supplying housing estates.

Interpanel from Crossen in Thuringia won the “Innovation” category with a so-called air conditioning light. This is a multifunctional, modular prefabricated ceiling installation that combines lighting, heating, and cooling independent of dew point. To achieve the latter, the company developed a new type of material that keeps moist air away from the cooling surface without preventing heat transport. In combination with high acoustic absorption and intelligent circadian LED lighting, the air conditioning luminaire efficiently covers the climatic requirements of the room.

The EU-funded research project RE4, which was developed in international cooperation between ZRS Architekten from Berlin and 12 European partners, is the winner in the category “Research”. The concept shows how building waste can be significantly reduced and building parts can be kept in circulation. For this purpose, the design for a circular and energy-efficient residential building was developed, which can be constructed from reused components or recycled materials. The project increases the recycling rate to 80 percent and shows by means of life cycle assessment that negative environmental impacts and CO₂ emissions can be significantly reduced – an important contribution to sustainability in the sense of a circular economy.

Award ceremony as part of a hybrid event

For the first time a special student prize was awarded. The re.create project was awarded this prize by twelve students from the Technical University of Munich, the East Bavarian Technical University and the International Real Estate Business School Regensburg. With their building design, they developed a vision for a sustainable, urban life that requires a sensitive approach to resources.

“Our goal with the Sustainability Challenge is to track down innovative projects and companies in the field of sustainable construction and to offer them a stage to present their solutions to a wider audience,” said Dr. Christine Lemaitre, Managing Director of the DGNB. “We succeeded in doing this again this year – with three exciting and well-deserved winners.”

In addition to the approximately 200 visitors to the DGNB Sustainability Day, many other interested parties followed the award ceremony in Stuttgart via a live stream on the Internet. For the first time, the live pitch of the finalists, which was held in June, was not held as a face-to-face event but in digital form.


(Featured image by Pixabay via Pexels)

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Olivia McCall is passionate about education, women and children’s rights, and the environment. A long-time investor, she covers news about the latest stocks (lately marijuana and tech), IPOs and indices, and is always on the lookout for socially responsible startups. She also writes about the food sector, and has a keen interest on cryptocurrencies.

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